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Animal Science Products, Inc. v. Hebei Welcome Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd.

138 S. Ct. 1865 (2018)

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Animal Science Products, Inc. v. Hebei Welcome Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd.

United States Supreme Court

138 S. Ct. 1865 (2018)

Facts

United States purchasers of vitamin C (collectively, the purchasers) (plaintiffs) filed a lawsuit in federal district court alleging that Chinese sellers of vitamin C (collectively, the sellers) (defendants) engaged in price and quantity fixing in violation of § 1 of the Sherman Act. The sellers moved to dismiss the case, arguing that Chinese law required them to fix the price and quantity of their vitamin C exports. The Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China (the ministry) filed an amicus brief supporting the motion of the sellers and interpreting Chinese law to require the price and quantity fixing. The district court denied the seller’s motion to dismiss and explained that it did not consider the ministry’s statement conclusive. At trial, a jury held that the sellers had violated § 1 of the Sherman Act. The sellers appealed, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed the district court. The court of appeals held that the district court should have granted the sellers’ motion to dismiss because federal courts are bound to a foreign government’s reasonable interpretation of its own law. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Ginsburg, J.)

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